There is no specific training to gain the expertise required for the profession of master distiller.
For this reason, it takes many years of experience to learn the quintessence of the highly complex distillation process.
Such experience is often passed from generation to generation; this is very much the case at the Meyer distillery.
The arrival of the fruit at the distillery
The basic ingredient of a good brandy is obviously high quality fruit. The Distillery
Meyer takes this key stage very seriously and the arrival of every lorry and tractor is accompanied
by careful inspections; under and over-ripe fruit is automatically eliminated, and only fruit with just the
right amount of sugar (and therefore of future alcohol) is accepted. Stone fruit and pears
are fermented while berries have to undergo a maceration period.
Fermentation of fruit
After this selection the fruit will be gently crushed, with care be taken not to crush the stones of
fruit such as cherries or damsons; it is then placed in
temperature-controlled fermentation vats and automatically stirred every two hours so that all the
fruit ferments as stably and uniformly as possible.
Fermentation starts after two days as a result of natural yeasts on the fruit. The
mixture bubbles violently and becomes covered with foam.
In about ten days, most of the sugar in the fruit has been transformed into alcohol.
Fermentation is then slowed down, and stops completely after about six weeks.
Maceration of the berries
Raspberries and wild berries have a very low sugar content. Fermentation
would thus produce virtually no alcohol. They are therefore steeped in a maceration brandy
for at least a month. A slight fermentation occurs during this period.
The mixture is then distilled.
The MEYER distillery uses stills that have been designed using the most advanced German technology.
They are manufactured in the Markdorf area in the Bodensee.
These three giant copper stills were made to order for the Meyer distillery at the request of
Jean-Claude Meyer in 2004.
They are a perfect combination of modernity and tradition because they enhance classic design
with the sensitivity of computer control, thereby enabling the master distiller to optimize his distillation
and obtain an exquisite finesse in the production of brandies and, of course, Meyer’s famous
Maturing of fruit brandies
The heart of the distillate of these brandies is then aged for two years for the Grandes Classiques
and up to four years for the Grande Réserve brandies.
Ageing is important because the brandies soften, and with time the ethers evaporate
to leave a more aromatic brandy.
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